Priorities, Goals, and Passions

Earlier this week, I wrote a list of confessions I called, “10 Confessions of a Super Mom.”  I wrote it in response to a few comments I’ve received lately, as well as all the comments I get in passing from random strangers (“I could never do that!”).  Because the truth is, no one is Super Mom, and at the same time, we all are.  We are all doing the best we can with the support, knowledge, and well-being we have at that time.  But that post got me thinking.  How do we measure our success?  Do we measure ourselves by someone else’s measure?  Is it an arbitrary measure based on our feelings that day?  I think we can all agree that there are days that we really struggle with our own measure of success and feelings of failure.

So I wanted to write down a few thoughts I’ve had recently about measuring success.  Here’s the thing – my measure of success is not the same as yours!  Isn’t that a freeing thought?  Your success is going to look totally different than mine.  We will likely have some things in common, but certainly not everything.  And that is OKAY.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be!  God made us individuals – not made from a cookie-cutter mold!

I would like to propose that there we should measure our success by 3 things: our priorities, our goals, and our passions.

Our Priorities

We all have priorities.  Some of them may be well-thought-through, maybe some of them not so much.  I would strongly suggest that you take some time (with your spouse if you’re married) to figure out your true priorities and write them down.  You will have family priorities and individual priorities.

Here are mine:

1. Cultivating a heart that seeks God and finding my rest in Him.

2. Honoring my husband and passionate loving him.

3. Being an example of godliness for my children, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.

4. Cultivating deep, intimate friendships with my children.

5. Creating a home of peace where hospitality is practiced regularly and freely.

 

Our Goals

Taking our priorities to a more practical level is done by making goals.  We should have a variety of goals that cover our priorities – short-term and long-term.  Again, this is a great thing to take some time to pray about (with your spouse if possible) and write down.   It’s also very important to re-evaluate these regularly and make adjustments as much as you feel you need to.  And also?  It’s totally okay to let go of your goals if you decide that they no longer fit in your priorities!  There is so much freedom in letting go of a goal, especially because we can often hold guilt over these.

Our Passions

This is another important area of life that I feel sometimes gets overlooked!  We focus so much on the “big stuff” – like our relationship with God and our family.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, those things are most important.  But many of our passions have been given to us by God and they are a big part of what makes each of us unique!  If you don’t realize that and understand that there is much life to be had in enjoying what you’re passionate about, you’re going to end up living a very unfulfilled life.

Now, maybe this should go without saying, but I’m talking about healthy passions here, not harmful or sinful ones.  They should be things that complement your priorities, not pull away from them.  Things like knitting, cooking gourmet, running, crafting, writing, gardening, etc. are what I’m thinking of.  These are ways that we renew ourselves, refresh our souls, find beauty in the everyday.  And as such they are important also.

 

When I am pondering how I’ve been doing recently as a mother, wife, and individual, this is where I go.  I go to my priorities, goals, and passions.  Am I living my priorities?  Am I working toward my goals?  Am I enjoying my passions?  When I can see myself doing these things, I know that no matter what my emotions that day tell me, I am successful.

On the flip side, when I’m not feeling good about my life and I can’t seem to pin down why, this is also a great place to start!  By looking at these 3 areas, I can usually figure out what is being neglected and can either adjust it accordingly (let it go and release the guilt!) or make a game plan for making it better.

In addition, this is a great filter for deciding whether something belongs in your life.  Whether you’re thinking about spending money, time, or resources on something, you can compare it to your priorities, goals, and passions to decide if it’s worth the expense.  As you make a habit of doing this, you will find that your life is where you want it to be, because even when things don’t go the way you’d like, you know what’s important to you and you are making those things your focus.

 

Blessings,

– Judy

Cultivating a Peaceful, Purposeful Home

Home management is something really important to me. I’m pretty sure I would have completely lost my mind by this point if I wouldn’t have picked up these tips along the way.  I originally prepared this material for a La Leche League enrichment meeting, knowing how valuable this sort of advice can be, especially for new moms.  I thought I’d share it here in hopes that it will helps some of you!  Enjoy!

Areas of Home Management:
1. Time – Family Activities, Time Spent Together, and Daily Routine

Managing time is the first major aspect of home management that every mom must learn how to do.  There are so many things that we need to fit into each day or week! Developing a method of managing your time is so important. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a family calendar (either physical or digital, whichever works best for you), and use it regularly!  Check it every night before going to bed and look it over at the beginning of each week.  Make sure you and your spouse do this together so that you are on the same page about your schedule.
  • Create a written routine.  Or a lot of them!  I have a loose daily routine, a weekly cleaning routine, and a list of extra cleaning jobs that aren’t weekly.
  • Use a timer to help manage your time in chunks.  If you’re like me, you may get carried away with one thing, allowing it to take up way too much time.  Or you may feel overwhelmed with a large project, and breaking it into pieces makes if feel lighter.  Egg timers (or your microwave timer) can be so helpful in many cases!
  • Incorporate your kids input into your routine.  Allow them to help design your routine, and keep them posted as to what is going on that day and week. (See This Post)
  • Assemble a home management binder.  I started doing this a year ago and love it!  It keeps all of my stuff together – calendar, finances, meal planning, routines, projects, etc.  Type in “home management binder” into Google and you’ll get all sorts of great ideas!
2. Food – Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping, and Cooking

I tend to go through seasons in my meal planning and cooking life.  Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it.  Sometimes I’m a rock star about planning everything out and never forgetting anything, sometimes I go for a week or two on last-minute throw-togethers (“Is spaghetti okay again, guys?”)

Here are a few things that help me:

  • Have a weekly meal routine.  Each day is assigned a different “genre” of food – for example: soup/bread day, pasta day, rice day, meal salad day, etc..  This takes so much out of the guesswork of creating a meal plan and helps you to incorporate new ideas easily.
  • Keep a list of favorite meals that your family enjoys (with page #s to recipes), that way you can quickly make your list rather than thumbing through your shelf full of cookbooks every week.
  • Take advantage of your freezer and slow cooker.  I make certain things in bulk (marinara sauce, marinated meat, ice cream… wait, ice cream doesn’t count?!), that way when a day goes differently than I planned, I can throw a freezer bag into a bowl of hot water and thaw it in no time.  And I love my slow cooker (or my cast iron dutch oven) for fall and winter days.  Mmmm…
  • Try seasonal eating!  By varying your menu by the season, you will enjoy a variety of foods every year, and not get tired of the same thing over and over.  Certain foods just taste better in their proper season, and bonus – you will save money at the store by buying your food in season!
3. Cleaning – Home, Car, Closets, Purse, etc…
As a mom with 4 young kids who I also homeschool, our home is never spotless.  But, I can also honestly say that if I stay on it, I am able to keep our home regularly clean.  Everyone has different solutions that work well for them, so take what works here and leave the rest!

Ideas to help keep your home clean:

  • Get rid of clutter!  Seriously, I think I could (and probably will!) write a whole blog or several about decluttering and keeping a simple home.  For now, I will simply say that the less stuff you have, the less you have to keep clean. 
  • Take the time to organize.  Another topic I could talk about for hours.  I’m actually one of those nerdy types that loves organizing, but even if you aren’t, I still strongly recommend you give it a try, at least for your most hectic spaces.  Keep it simple, and easy to maintain.
  • Have a daily cleaning task that stays the same each week.  For example: Monday is laundry, Tuesday is vacuuming, Wednesday is kitchen thorough-cleaning, Thursday is the car/garage, Friday is laundry again.  Something like that, anyway!
  • Do a 15-20 minute “sweep” of your home every day.  We do this in the early evening before Mark gets home from work, and I get the kids involved too.  We usually pump up some Newsboys and make it fun.  
  • Teach your kids to take some responsibility for their own stuff.  Help them remember to clean up one activity before taking out another.  Teach them to take care of their own laundry and make their beds.  
4. Self Care – Mom must care for herself in order to be able to care for others!
This is such a big deal in our home!  It’s easy to spend every moment of the day cleaning and cooking and maintaining – there’s always another thing to do, isn’t there?!  But if we don’t take good care of ourselves, in the end it will all crumble apart.  We serve our children and husband by taking good care of ourselves.

For me, as a major introvert, I get overwhelmed easily by the constant needs and company of my little brood.  The most vital part of my self care is making sure that I get adequate time alone.  But it has taken me a long time to realize just how important this is and learn how to make it a priority.

Here are some other ideas of ways to take care of yourself.  This post (click here) also has a few ideas on hitting the “reset button” on a rough week.

  • Develop a morning ritual.  Mine is tea, my gratitude journal, my Bible, and a book (for personal/spiritual growth, not entertainment).  Yours can be whatever helps you most.
  • Exercise.  Make sure you don’t care for everyone else while neglecting your own body.  This will eventually catch up with you!
  • Eat well.  I know, we all fall into the habit of eating whatever we can scrape together in the middle of everything else we’re doing.  But with just a bit of planning, you can feed your body what it needs to thrive instead of simply exist.
  • Get out!  Go to a mom’s night out or even playgroups where the moms can hang out while the kids play.  Both are valuable. Try to go on a date with your husband on a regular basis.  Have tea with a friend at night after the little ones have gone to sleep.  Get up early and hit up a nearby coffee shop before your family arises. 

I hope this post helps you!  Below are a list of links to resources that have really helped me.  I hope they help you as well!  Please leave a comment with any great tips that have helped you to better manage your home!

~ Judy


Resource List:
Websites:
Books:
Smart Organizing, by Sandra Felton
Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider
Binder Helps: